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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  February 10, 2013 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

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captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> and it wasn't one, two, or three bullets, it was... it was hundreds. it was just "bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam," just constant on the side of the bus. >> rose: these three americans survived a deadly and highly organized al qaeda attack in algeria. and tonight, you'll hear their story for the very first time. >> i was 100% sure i was going to die. >> rose: so each of you thought you were going to die. >> absolutely certain. >> the nightmares for me are all the same thing. it's the sound of those
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footsteps as they came down that hallway towards that door. >> rose: coming for you. >> coming for me. >> i think the industry is a mess, and i think the impact it has on real people is just unconscionable. >> kroft: unconscionable because as many as 40 million americans have a mistake on their credit report-- that, according to a new government study. and our own investigation of the credit reporting industry shows those mistakes can be nearly impossible to get removed from your record. so, really, you can't do anything for me. i've just been talking to you for 15 minutes. i mean, the only thing you can do is to tell me to fill it out online. >> yes, mr. kroft. >> and action. >> stahl: steven spielberg insisted that the sets of his movie "lincoln" be historically accurate, down to the books, the rugs, and the wallpaper. he even recorded the sound of lincoln's actual watch. and actor daniel day-lewis recreated his high-pitched voice.
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>> tell us the news from the hill. >> ah, well the news... >> why, for instance, is this thus, and what is the reason for this thusness. >> stahl: day-lewis stayed in character through the making of the entire film. >> i never, ever felt that depth of love for another human being that i never met. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm leslie stahl. >> i'm morley safer. >> i'm lara logan. >> i'm charlie rose. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes." tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 seems like etfs are everywhere these days. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 but there is one source with a wealth of etf knowledge tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 all in one place. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 introducing schwab etf onesource™. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 it's one source with the most commission-free etfs. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 one source with etfs from leading providers tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 and extensive coverage of major asset classes...
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>> rose: three weeks ago, al qaeda fighters launched a bold, deadly attack on a gas processing plant in north africa and killed 37 foreign workers. survivors said the assault was well-planned and well-executed. though details about the identities and motives of the invaders remain murky, the attack is evidence that the threat from al qaeda is still potent. and the group's goal remains the same-- to attack americans and other westerners wherever they may be, even on a barren patch of the sahara desert. there were eight americans at the algerian gas plant when the terrorists struck-- three died, five survived. tonight, you'll hear for the first time from three of them. >> steve wysocki: i was 100% sure i was going to die. >> rose: so each of you thought you were going to die? >> wysocki: yes. >> nick frazier: absolutely certain. >> mark cobb: there was no doubt in my mind that a lot of people were going to die through this event.
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>> rose: the event, a three- pronged attack, unfolded before dawn on wednesday, january 16. 32 al qaeda fighters stormed this sprawling natural gas field. they sprayed buildings and vehicles with automatic weapons and launched rocket propelled grenades. these three men-- nick frazier, mark cobb, and steve wysocki-- all worked for the oil company b.p. all witnessed the simultaneous assaults. they showed us where they were on a satellite photo of the gas field. >> wysocki: my office was approximately right there. >> rose: wysocki, an oil and gas well expert, was at the main production plant in a small office building. >> cobb: i was actually located in this building right here. >> rose: cobb, b.p.'s manager at the facility, was in his office near the residential camp, home to 800 workers, mostly algerians. frazier, a petroleum engineer, was on a bus bound for a nearby town. it had just pulled out of the main gate.
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>> frazier: i heard something. and my initial reaction was, "oh no, we've blown a tire." >> rose: it sounded like a blown tire? >> frazier: yeah. then, i looked out the... the left-hand window, and i saw dozens and dozens and dozens of red streaks pass the... pass the left-hand side of the bus. >> rose: you were under attack? >> frazier: yes. people started to scramble. and then, bullets started to come through the front windshield. everyone was, as fast as they could, getting to where they could lay down in the... the walkway of the seats and get as flat as possible. i don't know. everyone was so calm. you just... you become so calm. it wasn't how i thought i would have reacted at all. >> rose: no screaming, no...? >> frazier: it was very silent, very organized. it was as if we had trained for it, but we hadn't. you could hear bullets starting to hit the side of the bus. and it wasn't one, two, or three bullets, it was... it was hundreds.
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it was just "bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam," just constant on the side of the bus. i texted my wife, "the bus is under attack. call the embassy. this is real. do not call me." >> rose: you have to be wanting to tell her, "if i don't get back, i want you to know everything i feel." >> frazier: i didn't do that. and part of it might be because i didn't want to give up hope. and another because i didn't want her to think that i was going to die. i think, between those two reasons, i never really said good-bye. >> rose: algerian soldiers came to the rescue from a nearby base and battled the militants for three hours. >> frazier: they saved our lives. they returned fire-- heavy, heavy, heavy gunfire.
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they stood by the bus and shot back and kept the terrorists from getting onto the bus, which is, i'm assuming, their intent. >> rose: finally, the soldiers took frazier and the others on the bus to safety. for nick frazier, the terror was over. but here, at this spartan work camp where mark cobb lived and worked, a second group of al qaeda fighters had seized control. >> cobb: my first reaction was to call my boss in london. >> rose: what was the message? >> cobb: my message to him was very simple. "we're under a major terrorist attack." >> rose: you felt it, at that moment? >> cobb: oh, it was clear. i was guessing that i was hearing gunfire involving probably 20-plus individuals trading fire. it was that kind of intensity. by that point in time, i could hear very clearly gunfire inside the camp itself, so i knew the camp had been attacked. and i was looking out the window myself. and i saw three terrorists in the parking lot.
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and that's the point in time where i realized i needed to hide. >> rose: had it occurred to you by this time, "i'm an american, an expat. i'm a manager here. maybe they're coming for me"? >> cobb: absolutely. i knew, as the highest-ranking american on the site, i would be a prize. they put the highest value on american hostages, british hostages, and french hostages. >> rose: cobb gathered his staff in one room and locked the door. he crouched behind a filing cabinet as his co-workers hid him. >> cobb: i sat in a small ball in the corner. and they took all the maps and they laid them over the top of my head. and they stacked the maps in front, where the small gap was between the metal cabinets and basically... basically, hid me. >> rose: did you feel safe? >> cobb: no. if they started poking at the maps with an ak-47 or peeling maps off the top of me, i knew it was over with, yeah. i heard them kick open the front door.
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that's, i guess at the point where, in all honesty, that i felt pure terror. i felt i was going to be taken. so, at that point, i elected to begin to make my calls to my family and say my good-byes. >> rose: who did you call? >> cobb: i called my daughter in law. my son works for b.p. in the gulf of mexico; he was on a rig he was on shift. so i called her and i told her... >> rose: what did you say? >> cobb: i told her that i loved her. i told her that i loved my grandbaby. i told her to please get a hold of my son, and to tell him that, you know, i couldn't ever ask for a better son. and my cell phone buzzed. and i looked down-- it was my son calling me. he called me back, very emotional. asked me if... was it really that bad? and i said, "yeah, it was, son." >> rose: you're whispering?
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>> cobb: yeah, i'm whispering. i said, "i'm not sure i'm going to make it." and i told him i had to get off the phone, because then they were kicking the doors in closer to where i was, the room i was hiding in. and i hung up the phone with him. >> rose: can you hear your heartbeat in a moment like this? >> cobb: oh, yeah, especially sitting in that corner. dead still, you know? you don't even want to breathe deeply, because it might rustle the paper on top of you. >> rose: and what are you hearing? >> cobb: i'm hearing the distinct sound of a boot going into a door. but, by the grace of god, there was only two doors they didn't kick in in that office building, and one of those two was the door i was behind. >> rose: why do you think that's true? >> cobb: i have no idea. i have no idea why they didn't kick that door in. >> rose: after hiding for several hours, cobb decided to risk an escape. he scurried to the perimeter fence, dove through a hole, and ran for his life across the desert to the algerian military base a half-mile away. both cobb and frazier got out. cobb's friend, fellow texan victor lovelady, was not so lucky.
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he was taken hostage at the camp where cobb was hiding. at the massive gas plant up the road, a third group of al qaeda terrorists marauded through the giant maze of pipes and machinery, looking for more hostages. >> wysocki: we started hearing voices on our radios that didn't belong on our radios. the terrorists had... they had captured some of our radios, if you will, or taken them away from people, and they were starting to use our radios to communicate with themselves. and i looked out the front door and i saw a man that didn't belong there starting to come up the steps wearing camouflage fatigues. and i took off running. and one of the guys literally grabbed me and threw me under my desk in my hole. and then everybody got very quiet. >> rose: steve wysocki was curled into the corner of his
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cubicle. on the other side of the wall, another american, gordon rowan, took shelter in a bare conference room. intruders searched the building, kicking down doors. >> wysocki: i was laying there, trying to be just absolutely as quiet and as still as i could. my greatest fear was that i would sneeze or would move a boot or something like that and make a sound. i heard an exchange which i didn't fully recognize at first. and then, the response to the question was, "my name is gordon. i'm an american." and i knew gordon had been captured. and the response from the terrorist was, "you are welcome then." in english-- "now, we've got you now." >> rose: "gordon" was gordon rowan, wysocki and frazier's boss, and one of the most senior engineers in the gas field. and he was in the hands of the terrorists. >> wysocki: i was wearing my boots, and every time you
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touch... seemed like you touched the side of this little compartment i was in, it sounded like a drum, and it scared me that i was just afraid to move. >> rose: after two nights in hiding, wysocki and a few others made a break for freedom. >> wysocki: and we found that there was a spot in the fence that was damaged that we could go through. we got through the fence and we continued across the open desert. >> rose: there is this speculation that perhaps the motivation was to go in there, and they wanted to know how to process works and how the plants work because they wanted to create a huge explosion to get attention. >> cobb: i don't think they understood technically how the plant operates. >> rose: "they" being the terrorists? >> cobb: the terrorists. i don't think they understood technically how the facility operated. but i think they understood enough to know that there was high-pressure gas in there, and they put bombs in the right places that they could create what... >> rose: a huge explosion. >> cobb: a huge explosion, a spectacular, as it's sometimes referred in security parlance, so... >> rose: seen around the world from the highest point in the
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sky? >> cobb: absolutely. >> rose: the plant had shut down at the first sound of trouble, the terrorists apparently unable to restart it. but they did detonate a bomb, a vehicle packed with explosives. it killed most of them and seven of their hostages, including gordon rowan. two other americans also died. fred buttaccio suffered a fatal heart attack at the start of the four-day siege. cobb's friend, victor lovelady, was killed a day later along with several other hostages. the terrorists were trying to move key hostages from the camp to the plant. algerian helicopters obliterated the convoy, leaving the vehicles in which they were captive charred and twisted. after four days, it was over. survivors and friends gathered for gordon rowan's funeral a week ago. people died, friends of yours
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died, you know. you feel there but... by the grace of god, there but, you know, "why me? how did i survive and someone else didn't?" >> cobb: you can't help but ask that question. "why was i able to escape?" you know, "why was nick not shot on that bus?" i don't know. i don't think any of us know. >> wysocki: when i heard the guys in our building get taken, i'm like, "why couldn't i have done something to help?" and i'm guilt... feel guilty for being... feeling that i was paralyzed with fear and not do anything. but... and i'm especially guilty because they lost their lives and i didn't. >> cobb: all of us got quite a bit of time ahead of us to go through this and relive these memories and the nightmares that we have at night and the sleepless nights that we have. >> rose: nightmares. nightmares? >> cobb: yeah. the nightmares, for me, are all the same thing-- it's the sound of those footsteps as they came down that hallway towards that door. >> rose: coming for you? >> cobb: coming for me.
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>> kroft: whether we like it or not, we live in an age where much of what goes on in our daily lives is monitored, collected, and sold to interested parties-- our driving records, our medical history, our internet traffic and, most importantly, our credit information. a mistake on your credit report can cost you money-- it can increase the interest you pay on
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your loans, prevent you from getting a mortgage or buying a car, landing a job or getting a security clearance. it's not uncommon. a new government study to be released tomorrow indicates as many as 40 million americans have a mistake on their credit report; 20 million have significant mistakes. and our own investigation of the credit reporting industry shows that those mistakes can be nearly impossible to get removed from your record. consumer credit reporting is a $4 billion a year industry, dominated by three large companies-- experian, transunion and equifax. they keep files on 200 million americans and traffic in our financial reputations. they make their money gathering information from people we do business with, and selling it to banks, merchants, insurance companies, and employers, and they use it to make judgments
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about our creditworthiness and reliability. but now, the reliability of the industry is being questioned in an eight-year federal trade commission study to be released tomorrow. jon leibowitz is the chairman. >> jon leibowitz: here's what we found. some pretty troubling information. one out of five americans has an error on their credit report, and one out of ten has an error on their credit report that might lower their credit score. >> kroft: i'm trying to think of another industry where a 20% error rate would be acceptable. that's a pretty high error rate. >> leibowitz: it's a pretty high error rate. >> mike dewine: i think the more we look at this and the more the american people know about this, the madder they're going to get. >> kroft: ohio attorney general mike dewine has opened his own investigation into the credit reporting industry, which, for years, has blamed mistakes on banks and merchants that provide them with bad information. but dewine argues that the fault lies with the industry for what he says are clear violations of the fair credit reporting act.
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do these companies have a legal responsibility to make sure that the information is accurate? >> dewine: the federal law says that if you believe that there is a mistake, you can go to them and they have an obligation to do a reasonable investigation. they're not doing a reasonable investigation. they're not doing an investigation at all. >> kroft: every day, dewine's office fields calls from desperate constituents who can't get the credit reporting agencies to answer their questions or correct mistakes on their report, like paid bills listed as delinquent, closed accounts listed as open, and bad debts that belong to other people with similar names or social security numbers. >> dewine: the problem is not that they make mistakes; it's they won't fix the mistakes. it literally is like this-- you know, guy behind the curtain in "the wizard of oz." you really don't know what he's doing. it really is a secret operation that is so hard to crack.
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>> kroft: eight million people a year file disputes about their credit report, which usually requires a visit to the experian, transunion or equifax web sites. they are primarily designed to sell you premium products, not resolve a dispute, which is what i was trying to do. there's a toll-free number you can call, which is likely to connect you to someone on a faraway continent. >> kevin: thank you for calling. my name is kevin. how may i help you? >> kroft: where are you located? >> kevin: india. >> kroft: india? but regardless of where they are or who you talk to, they won't be much help. >> kroft: so, really, you can't do anything for me. i've just been talking to you for 15 minutes. i mean, the only thing you can do is to tell me to fill it out online. >> yes, mr. kroft. >> kroft: okay, thank you. besides the toll-free number, they also give you a post office box address where you can send a letter and documents supporting your claim. in each case, it's extremely unlikely that anyone with the authority to resolve your dispute will ever actually see
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it. ask sandra cortez, a california accountant whose credit report confused her with an international drug trafficker. it took her five years to get it fixed. or david smith, a retired army officer, whose credit report listed a bankruptcy that wasn't his and triggered a foreclosure proceeding against his house in south carolina. he is still dealing with the fallout. or judy thomas, a trauma nurse with a horror story worthy of hitchcock or kafka. >> judy thomas: there's nobody to go to. there's nobody. you just keep making phone calls and you just keep writing disputes and you keep sending them your social security number, and they don't care. >> kroft: thomas, who manages two medical centers near cleveland, says it all began in 1999 when she went shopping for a new dress and applied for a store credit card to get a 15% discount. she was denied. was that the first time you'd ever been denied credit? >> thomas: yes, very first time.
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>> kroft: ever? >> thomas: ever, ever. >> kroft: but certainly not the last. it became a regular occurrence. the personal credit reports she got from experian, transunion and equifax were all clean and without blemish. yet she kept getting rejected and couldn't find out why. >> thomas: i would get a consumer report and it would look fine. i would go to the bank, and they would tell me, "oh no, you have all this debt." but no one would tell me what was on there. >> kroft: they wouldn't tell you what the debt was, and they wouldn't give you a copy of the report that they had? >> thomas: no. no. >> kroft: it took judy thomas several years to discover what almost no one knows-- that the credit reports the agencies send to you are different than the ones that they sell to banks, merchants, and mortgage brokers. and she only found that out when a loan officer left her file on his desk and walked out of the room. and what did you see? >> thomas: i saw debt from utah medical center. i saw debt from a veterinarian clinic in utah.
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i saw collections for a judith kendall. >> kroft: judith kendall, not judy thomas? >> thomas: correct. >> kroft: what's going through your mind? >> thomas: what the hell's she doing on my credit report? what the hell is her debt doing on my credit report? >> kroft: you'd think this would be a fairly simple thing to get straightened out? >> thomas: you would think. yeah, you would think. this is my "judy thomas versus judith kendall" file. >> kroft: instead, it became a six-year battle with credit agencies, requiring boxloads of correspondence to try and prove that she was judy thomas, not judith kendall, all to no avail. you got a lot of time invested in this. how important are these documents? >> thomas: it's my life. >> kroft: there are logs of daily phone calls to dispute centers, hundreds of letters, to experian, equifax and transunion, even correspondence from judith's kendall's creditors in utah, acknowledging that the debts on her credit report aren't hers. >> thomas: i would get letters
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back from these companies, saying, "this, in fact, is not you." >> kroft: you still couldn't get it off your credit report? >> thomas: no, i sent copies to the credit bureaus. and they... and they would come back as mine, verified, verified. i also hired an... a local attorney to try and straighten it out. we had everything certified, that this is judy thomas. this is where i live. i've never gone by the name of kendall. i've never even been to utah, let alone owing a cable company in utah. >> kroft: and what happened? >> thomas: nothing. >> kroft: nothing? >> thomas: nothing. >> kroft: what kind of problems did this cause for you? >> thomas: i couldn't... i couldn't refinance. i couldn't take advantage of the interest rates. i couldn't get a new... i couldn't get a car. i couldn't... i couldn't cosign for my children's student loans. and i'd worked hard for my credit, i was... and these people were taking it away from me.
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>> kroft: finally, judy thomas took the only recourse available to her. she sued equifax and transunion in federal court. and after a year-long battle, the credit reporting agencies settled for an undisclosed sum and promised to clean up her file. did you think it was going to take a federal lawsuit? >> thomas: heck, no. it just takes-- it just takes a human being going, "wow, this isn't judith kendall. let me fix this." that's all they had to do. >> kroft: but as we discovered, that almost never happens. if you challenge a credit report and mail your information to a post office box in the united states, the dispute will likely be investigated in india, or the philippines, or south america. we traveled 5,000 miles to the chilean capital of santiago, where we tracked down three former experian employees. carolina hererra, rodolfo carrasco and enzo valdivia were all dispute agents at experian's
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national consumer assistance center, although they say they weren't able to offer consumers much assistance. so, if somebody had a problem with their credit report, they would send the complaint, and it would end up with you? >> yeah. oh, yeah. >> kroft: so how many of these did you have to do a day? >> rodolfo carrasco: 90. >> kroft: 90? >> carolina hererra: 90, yeah. >> kroft: did you consider yourself investigators? >> no. >> kroft: did you have any way to investigate these claims? >> hererra: no, we didn't. you can't call the person. >> kroft: you can't pick up the phone and call them? >> no. >> kroft: did you have phones? >> no. no. >> kroft: could you email them? >> no. >> kroft: did you have the authority to say, "wait a minute," after looking at somebody's file, and say that, you know, "this is a... somebody made a mistake. this person doesn't owe this money"? >> carrasco: we didn't have that power. >> kroft: all they did was read the disputes and reduce them to a two-digit code, like "never late" or "not mine." it was then sent with a two- or three-line summary and no documentation back to the bank or department store that furnished the original information. if there was a difference of
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opinion between the creditor and the person who was filing the complaint, how... was it usually resolved in the... in favor of the creditor? >> enzo valdivia: yeah. the creditor was always right. >> carrasco: mostly, we took for granted the word of the bank. if the bank said, "hey, this guy owes $100," so it is. >> silvia goldsmith: none of us have ever interviewed anybody in chile from experian. we've got a federal court ordering them to bring these people forward, and we're still waiting. >> kroft: much of what's known about the inner workings of the consumer credit agencies comes out of lawsuits filed by len bennett and sylvia goldsmith, who have subpoenaed company records and deposed employees and executives. they say, under the current system, there is no way for people like judy thomas to get their problems solved. so all these people who take the time to meticulously document a case that the bill isn't theirs or the bill has been paid-- that is never seen by anybody?
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>> len bennett: it's not seen by anyone who considers it in determining whether or not information will be removed from a credit report. >> kroft: it's not forwarded on to the person who has the complaint with you? >> bennett: no. it is never forwarded on, never forwarded on to the creditor. >> goldsmith: we can get a jury verdict for $1 million. that's chump change to some of these bureaus. they would rather pay a verdict in $1 million than to actually go in and change the policies and procedures that they have, because that's much more expensive to them. >> bennett: i can say this. without qualification, the dispute procedures used by the credit reporting agencies-- uniformly used-- completely fail to comply with the fair credit reporting act. courts have found that. the federal trade commission has found that. it's not even a close call. >> kroft: ohio attorney general mike dewine agreed. >> dewine: i think the industry's a mess. and i think the impact it has on real people is just unconscionable. >> kroft: you think they're breaking the law? >> dewine: i think they're breaking the law.
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there is no doubt in my mind that they are breaking the law. >> kroft: we wanted to talk to equifax, transunion and experian. but like most consumers, we were unsuccessful. the agencies referred us to the spokesman for their lobbying group in washington. he too declined our request for an on-camera interview, but did provide a written statement citing an industry-sponsored survey that showed 95% of its customers were satisfied with the dispute process. the industry maintains it's in compliance with federal law. >> go to to find out what you can do if you think there's a mistake on your credit report. sponsored by lyrica. i'm phyllis, and i have diabetic nerve pain. when i first felt the diabetic nerve pain, of course, i had no idea what it was. i felt like my feet were going to sleep. it progressed from there to burning like i was walking on hot coals
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>> stahl: with the 150th anniversary of the civil war, we're going through another abraham lincoln revival. not that interest in him ever really fades-- there've been close to 16,000 books written about him, and now, steven spielberg's movie, "lincoln," which has been nominated for 12 academy awards. the film is filled with things
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about our 16th president that we, who aren't lincoln scholars, didn't know. it's daniel day-lewis, whose been nominated for an oscar for best actor, who brings the great man to life. >> daniel day-lewis (as "lincoln"): i can't listen to this anymore. i can't accomplish a goddamn thing of any human meaning or worth until we cure ourselves of slavery and end this pestilential war. >> day-lewis: i never, ever felt that depth of love for another human being that i never met. and that's i think probably the effect that lincoln has on most people that take the time to discover him. >> stahl: after agreeing to take the part, daniel day-lewis spent a year reading and doing research into abraham lincoln the man. >> day-lewis: he does feel as if he's carved in stone, when you first approach him, because of the way he was as a man. as you begin to discover him,
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it's almost as if he welcomes you in. >> "lincoln": tell us the news from the hill. >> ah, well the news... >> "lincoln": why, for instance, is this thus, and what is the reason for this thusness. >> stahl: so much about daniel day lewis' portrait rings true to the man, including things most of us didn't know, like what lincoln sounded like. >> day-lewis: there are numerous references to him having a high- pitched voice. >> stahl: did that influence you? >> day-lewis: it's a clue, i suppose. all clues are potentially helpful. >> "lincoln": and come february the first, i intend to sign the 13th amendment. >> doris kearns goodwin: that's definitely the way people who heard him speak at the time said he spoke. so, somehow, he mastered that voice. >> stahl: even lincoln historians, like doris kearns goodwin, who was a consultant on the movie, say the portrait, down to the high voice, was eerily authentic because of daniel day-lewis' method acting. >> goodwin: steven told me later that he never came out of that voice until after the filming was over. >> stahl: so the whole time they were filming, he stayed in
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character, which is his method? >> goodwin: absolutely. >> stahl: steven is steven spielberg, the director, who decided that the movie would be only about the last four months of lincoln's life, when, worried that the emancipation proclamation would be voided after the war, he pushes for passage of the 13th amendment to end slavery once and for all. >> steven spielberg: what he was seeing was that the war was going to come to a close, and once the war was over, he would have a snowball's chance in hell to pass this. he needed to get this thing through with great haste. >> stahl: here's something most of us didn't know-- lincoln was a was a hardball, down-and-dirty kind of politician. to get the amendment passed, he used ruthless, even deceptive tactics. lincoln, our great, great hero, was a great horse trader and did get his hands dirty. >> spielberg: at the same time, it was noble and grand, but it was also dark and murky, which is sometimes... >> stahl: a little scummy. >> spielberg: ...what all politics are.
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>> stahl: but they were buying votes. >> spielberg: there's no money involved. they were trading administration jobs called patronage jobs to get a yes vote to abolish slavery. >> but we can't buy the votes for the amendment. it's too important. >> "lincoln": i said nothing of buying anything. we need 20 votes was all i said. start of my second term, plenty of positions to fill. >> stahl: lincoln did everything in the politician's handbook to get the amendment passed-- cajoled, arm-twisted, negotiated, and he bullied his cabinet. >> "lincoln": buzzard's, guts man. i am the president of the united states of america, clothed in immense power. you will procure me these votes. >> stahl: and meanwhile, the war-- the civil war-- was continuing to take the ever mounting number of lives, which lincoln saw with great guilt.
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the scene in the movie when he rides through the aftermath of the battle of petersburg is heartbreaking. >> stahl: did that happen? did he really go to the battlefield? >> goodwin: lincoln actually went to the battlefield about a dozen times during the war. he needed to walk amidst the thinning ranks of the soldiers. he physically felt every life that was lost was on his soul, on his heart. >> "lincoln": some weariness has bit at my bones. i've never seen the like of it before, what i've seen today. >> stahl: what saved lincoln... during the war, and throughout his life, was his sense of humor and the stories he loved to tell, that he often enjoyed more than his audience. >> "lincoln": i heard tell once of a jefferson city lawyer who had a parrot that waked him each morning crying out, "today's the day the world shall end, as scripture has foretold."
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and one day, the lawyer shot him, for the sake of peace and quiet, i presume, thus fulfilling, for the bird at least, its prophecy. >> stahl: one of the things that i loved in the movie, several times, where he'd start... you start telling a funny story in almost inappropriate moments. >> day-lewis: right. >> stahl: and everybody rolls their eyes, "oh god, here he goes again." >> day-lewis: yeah, stanton, his secretary of war, was always apoplectic. and that... that is known, that's a historical fact, that stanton just couldn't stand him telling stories. >> "lincoln": there is one ethan allen story that i'm very partial to. >> no, you're going to tell a story. i don't believe that i can bear to listen to another one of your stories right now! >> stahl: was he just a supremely confident man, or was it that he wasn't a confident person?
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>> goodwin: it's a mystery in a certain sense, because he is... at one level, he's extremely confident. i think from the time he was young, he knew that he was, in some sense, a genius. but when he was young, he was so worried that opportunities would never allow him to exercise his talents. and he was hugely ambitious. he wanted to be remembered for having done something that would stand the test of time. so, boy, has that been achieved-- saving the union, ending slavery, and living forever in history. pretty good. >> spielberg: and action. >> stahl: spielberg went to great lengths to make his movie look as historically accurate as possible. here's first lady mary todd lincoln; here's sally field, who put on 25 pounds to play the part. this is abolitionist thaddeus stevens, and this is tommy lee jones in the role. and here's secretary of war edwin stanton, played by bruce mcgill. and rooms in the white house were recreated. spielberg went out and found first editions of books lincoln read.
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i heard, the same rug by the same... i mean, it looked the same. the same books. >> spielberg: same wallpaper. same books. >> stahl: same paintings. >> spielberg: and the watch that lincoln carries on him that you hear ticking sometimes, the museum allowed our sound designer to record the actual ticking of lincoln's actual watch. so whenever you hear the ticking, that's the same ticking that lincoln heard 150 years ago. >> stahl: i understand you wore a suit for this shoot. >> spielberg: i felt naked without one. i'd never worn a suit before. i think i wanted to get into the role, more than anything else, of being part of that experience. because we were recreating a piece of history that we hope will stick around for a while. and i wanted to feel like i was a part of that recreation. and so i didn't want to look like the schlubby baseball cap- wearing 21st century guy. >> stahl: in reaching to portray the real lincoln, the movie doesn't just deal with him as president; it delves into his personal life and his tormented relationship with his wife.
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>> goodwin: he was troubled by her, he was challenged by her, he was hurt by her, all of those things together. >> "lincoln": "your grief, your grief, your inexhaustible grief." >> sally field (as "mary todd lincoln": how dare you throw that up at me? >> "lincoln": and his mother who wouldn't let him near her because she was screaming from morning to night. >> stahl: did they fight like that? >> goodwin: yeah. oh, there were real fights. >> stahl: who's afraid of virginia woolf? >> goodwin: yeah. >> "lincoln": for everyone's god damn sake, i should've clapped in the madhouse. >> "mary todd lincoln": then do it. do it. don't you threaten me, you do it this time. lock me away. >> stahl: when the movie starts, their second child has already died, willie. and she has been in the deepest of mourning. as i had heard, she basically closeted herself upstairs in the white house. and is this true, doris, stopped mothering the younger child, tad? >> goodwin: the most terrible thing that mary did after willie died was she couldn't bear being with tad, her youngest son, because he reminded her of willie's absence. it's as if both willie and tad died after willie died.
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lincoln had to become both mother and father to tad after mary turned away. and he had to take over not only the country, in leading the country, but take over that little kid at the same time. what you see are the kinds of gestures that are so loving-- when he lies down next to him in the fireplace, when he carries him to bed at night. >> "tad": papa? >> "lincoln": hmm? >> "tad": papa, i want to see willie. >> "lincoln": me too, taddie, but we can't. >> "tad": why not? >> "lincoln": willie's gone. it's three years now, he's gone. >> stahl: the four years of the war took a toll on lincoln. you see can see that he aged, as does daniel day-lewis in the course of the movie.
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he grows wearier, he hunches over more, his distinctive walk seems to slow. >> goodwin: "it was almost as if his gaunt frame needed oiling," people said. and he would walk as if he were walking over a difficult field, and his leg would come up and go down in a very uncomfortable way. one of his friends said, "he looked like a laborer coming home after a hard day's work." that the... somehow, the weight of the world was felt in that walk. >> "lincoln": am i in trouble? >> no, sir. >> "lincoln": thank you, mr. slade. >> stahl: one of the most poignant scenes in the movie comes near the end. it's april 14, 1865; lincoln is leaving the white house for ford's theater. >> "lincoln": i suppose it's time to go, though i would rather stay. >> goodwin: there is something about the emotional connection that you develop with this man, about the trial that he went through, about this extraordinary moment in our country's history. and somehow, i ended up with affection as well as respect for him, and in... in the end, probably real love.
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>> stahl: you've said one of the sad things about the end of a movie is that you have to leave that character. did lincoln stay with you after? >> day-lewis: oh, yeah. i wish he'd stay forever, really. i suppose what you miss is the pretense of seeing the world, understanding the world through their eyes, because it's just a pretense, it's a game. but, yeah, i missed him a lot. >> now a cbs sorts update. at the at&t pebble beach national pro-am, grant snedeker shot a final round 65 to take the title by two. snedeker's fourth victory in the last two years volts him to number two in the world inch college basketball, indiana hold past ohio state 81-68.
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for more sports news and information, go to jim nantz reporting from pebble beach. clear investments and no hidden fees.
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>> kroft: in the mail, our interview two weeks ago with president obama and outgoing secretary of state hillary clinton brought a lot of letters accusing us of being too easy on them.
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"the lack of tough questions and really any question of substance was a missed opportunity." but then there was this about our questions for secretary clinton. "did you want to make her look bad? why so much time and emphasis on the negative?" i'm steve kroft. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." captioning funded by cbs, and ford-- built for the road ahead. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've been buying ragu for years.
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